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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 - 2 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-123 MCC Status Report #18
The crews on board space shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station are getting a break from the action today before preparing for a spacewalk which will demonstrate a technique for repairing shuttle heat shield tiles.

The wake-up call at 12:41 p.m. CDT was “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley, played for Mission Specialist Mike Foreman.

For the first part of the day all of the crew members on both vehicles are scheduled off duty, a chance to relax after almost a full week of docked operations. So far they’ve completed three spacewalks, delivered and outfitted Japan’s first space station component, and assembled and delivered a Canadian robotic attachment to its home on the station’s U.S. Destiny laboratory.

At 6:08 p.m. shuttle Commander Dominic Gorie and station Commander Peggy Whitson will join Mission Specialist Takao Doi for a congratulatory phone call from Japan’s prime minister, and all 10 crew members will gather at 7:58 p.m. to talk about the flight in interviews with CBS News, NBC News and WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H.

This evening Mission Specialists Robert L. Behnken and Foreman will make preparations for Thursday’s spacewalk, when they will test a heat shield repair technique. The spacewalkers will set up a caulk-gun-like tool named the Tile Repair Ablator Dispenser, which they’ll use to dispense a material called Shuttle Tile Ablator-54 into purposely damaged heat shield tiles. Those test samples will be returned to Earth to undergo extensive testing on the ground.

The next STS-123 status report will be issued near the end of the crew’s day, about 4 a.m. Thursday, or earlier if events warrant.

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